Sunday, September 23, 2012
Geologists are 'scientists' with unnatural obsessions with rocks. Often too intelligent to do monotonous sciences like biology, chemistry, or physics, geologists devote their time tomud-worrying, volcano poking, fault finding, bouldering, dust-collecting, and high-riskcolouring. One of the main difficulties in communicating with geologists is their belief that a million years is a short amount of time and their heads are harder than rocks. Consequently, such abstract concepts as "Tuesday Morning" and "Lunchtime" are completely beyond their comprehension. (This difficulty generates problems particularly when dealing with the girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse and attempting to explain why you were "gone for so long" or why something is taking "so long to occur.")
There is a considerable, and still growing body of scientific literature that suggests that geologists are in fact the world's first alcohol-based life form. Owing to a crucial imbalance in blood electrolyte levels (possibly caused by overexposure to bad rock puns) most find it necessary to imbibe vast quantities of alcoholic beverages at every opportunity. Therefore the phrase "I am not an alcoholic, I am a geologist" has become quite common within many student bodies to explain their metamorphism from an organic based life form to a alcohol-based one. If you ever encounter a geologist who is sober after 6pm, this person is an imposter: possibly an alien; probably a geophysicist or engineer, marine geographer or hydrologist etc.Alcoholism is an acceptable, even socially beneficial, disease for an active geologist. The mark of a true geologist is the ability to draw up a systematic and colour coded diagrammatic representation of good beer distribution across the globe, using no more than a tatty beer mat and burnt twig. **Note** ... Geophysicists are known only to drink alone due to an intense fear of social situations, similar to that of Engineers (though the latter species are known to occasionally gather in packs no greater than the numerical equivalent of the square root of the energy in joules required to stare blankly at a computer screen most of the day in a state of semi-consciousness, happily calling this a 'day's work', plus the number of cups of bad coffee X smoke breaks, divided by 1000. Usually 4 or 5).
While the engineer will almost always opt for light beer or white wine, the hardcore geologist will never lower themselves to anything less than full-strength. Light/mid-strength beer is for homosexuals and washing hair only. The female geologist will usually go for spirits, or, if she's hard enough, heavy beer with a shot of absinthe.
Alcohol is essential on field activities, either on late night scientific discussions or cold-weather camping; it is also a useful companion and tool in the field (as well as out), just as important as the rock hammer, Brunton compass, and hand-lens. Alcohol is used as an indispensable renewable fuel source for enlightened or hot topics and for surviving in cold weather as a human "internal combustion" liquid fuel. There are known examples of geologists that have survived on a pint of whiskey in the middle of the desert and in way-below freezing temperatures.
Alternative conversation topics might include: a detailed consideration of the relative merits of differing brands of gin (including those brands that may only be termed "gin" as "bug-infused lighter fuel" might look bad on the risk assessment forms); whether a hangover is very useful or absolutely essential to the correct practice of geology in the field; and how many crates of beer does it take to cause the average 4x4 to roll over/dump its rear axle/spontaneously combust. It has been observed that undergraduate geology students are berated and whipped with bootlaces by their lecturers if they do not partake in late night drinking on field trips (exception: university of Western Australia). Returning to university without liver-ache is frowned upon by most (exception: university of Western Australia). Early mornings in the field are usually fueled by coffee; however, water is optional in the brewing process and filters are unheard of. In the absence of water, coffee will be brewed with leftover beer. In the absence of beer, vodka, scotch, gin or tequila; coffee grounds may be chewed dry. This perhaps, is the reason it is impossible to communicate successfully with a geologist in the field. Protective cover in the form of beards shields geologists in a field party from sight of each other's gin-etched and coffee-coloured teeth. The inability to grow a beard is one of the factors still hampering female geologists today, though some have a really good crack at it.
In recent years, geologists have become more inclined to imbibe absinthe in their efforts to better think like a rock. The proper way to drink absinthe is to prepare a drink known as a green schist. Absinthe is most appropriately consumed by straining a shot into a glass through an absinthe spoon containing a sugar cube. Light the sugar cube. After it burns down, stir it into the glass with the spoon, then take the shot (DO NOT substitute aplite!). Add three shots of ice cold water (preferably from a receding glacier) and watch as the absinthe louches with the cold water and sugar. Caution, do not drink more than five of these in one sitting! Also, ONLY trust female geologists that you observe slamming down shots of absinthe in a bar. You have been warned.